Picts and Ancient Britons: An Exploration of Pictish Origins

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Paul Dunbavin
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Few problems in British history have proved as intractable as that of the origin and ethnic associations of the Picts. For although we may find numerous references to them within Roman and Celtic sources they have left us no historical texts of their own. So often we find the early Picts mentioned within histories of Roman Britain as mere opponents of Roman arms -- but who these tattooed barbarians were remains a mystery. Modern opinion holds that the Picts were Celts, like the Scots and Welsh. This book seeks to demonstrate the scarcity of evidence for this common assumption and follows instead the evidence of native tradition. In a stimulating new study the author offers a view of the Picts that is certainly not the current text book standard. It concentrates on the very oldest traditions of Pictish origins, which together with early historical sources, would suggest that the Picts were not Celts at all, but Scythians. It will put an alternative case that the Picts were Finno-Ugrian immigrants from the Baltic coast. The author provides an investigation which subjects the traditions of Pictish origin to thorough scrutiny and by offering a viewpoint that does not commence from a Celtic bias, thereby offers some new ideas on a much neglected subject. Originally published in 1998 and for some years out of physical print, this new edition will make this unique research available once again to researchers who are looking both for a source book of the earliest literary references to the people of Scotland and wish to take the research further. Equally interesting to Scots who just want to understand their own past.